Manuel Pellegrini has moved to dismiss speculation that striker Edin Dzeko could leave Manchester City this winter, insisting the Bosnia and Herzegovina international remains an "important part of the squad."
The Chilean is adamant that the 27-year-old will not be permitted to leave the Etihad Stadium, and is quoted by Sky Sports saying:
No, that is not the case [that Dzeko could be sold]. I put my trust in him before the season and I have just as much trust in him now.
It is very important for this club to have a good squad because we have a lot of games to play from now until April and, if we want to win trophies, we need important players. Maybe at the moment he is not playing as much as he would like, but he remains an important part of the squad.
Dzeko started the campaign with a strong run of playing time but has since fallen in the pecking order to this season's leading Premier League scorer Sergio Aguero and summer arrival Alvaro Negredo.
Having not started a Premier League match since late September, the former Wolfsburg hitman faces a fight to regain his place ahead of Aguero and Negredo, who have scored 16 goals between them thus far in the campaign.
A fortnight ago, Pellegrini became the first manager ever to lead City to the knockout stages of the Champions League, adding more games onto the Citizens' schedule for 2014.
As things stand, Arsenal have Olivier Giroud holding up their forward line almost single-handedly, with only Nicklas Bendtner as an experienced striking alternative.
It seems the Gunners will need to widen their net this January if they're to bring in more attacking recruits. Dzeko boasts similar attributes to Giroud—happy to play with his back to goal and bring others into play—but even if City were open to him leaving it is highly unlikely they would choose to strengthen their main title rivals.
In 44 Premier League starts during his time as a Manchester City player, Dzeko has scored 33 goals and made 15 assists, per Transfermarkt.co.uk, showing that he can indeed be a prolific talent, as proved during his Bundesliga tenure.
Seemingly unwilling to rely on inferior resources, Pellegrini is keen to hold onto a player who represents a very good option to have on the bench, and who can blame him?